January 2011

Procrastination

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Different Cultures, Different Selves

Cultural Psychologists claim that people in different cultures have different selves. They  have a lot of data showing that Asian selves and American selves are quite different. But what does this even mean? I think we need to make a couple of distinctions before this make sense for those of us coming from the direction of philosophical discussions of the self and personal identity.

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Derrida and Deconstruction

Derrida was one of the most widely revered and widely reviled thinkers of the mid-to-late twentieth Century. Many people in a variety of disciplines – especially in the literary humanities -- regard him as an absolutely seminal figure. Mark Taylor recently called him one of the three most important philosophers of the 20th century -- right up there with Heidegger and Wittgenstein. On the other hand, many philosophers would strongly disagree with that assessment (including that assessment of Heidegger and, to a lesser extent, Wittgenstein) -- especially philosophers, like John and I, who belong to the Anglo-American tradition.

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Abortion

We need to distinguish two questions in considering abortion: Why is abortion morally objectionable, if it is? Is it because we violate the rights of the fetus? Or is it some other reason, like that it expresses a cavalier attitude towards human life? if we interfere with a woman’s choice to have an abortion, have we wronged the woman? Do we, or does government, have the right to interfere with the exercise of that choice?

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The Moral Costs of Markets

Free markets are, on balance, wonderful things, I think. When they're truly open and free and not monopolized by a few big players, or overly regulated by excessively intrusive governments, markets are amazingly efficient ways of providing people with the things they want and need. They're the chief engines of economic progress, and are singularly conducive to human happiness. But my enthusiasm for free markets is not unlimited.

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